A short survey from the Farmer’s Weekly has suggested that over two-thirds of farmers are in favour of staging protests in the UK as a way of raising awareness of the impact of the low prices they are being paid, and forcing both the government and supermarkets to take action.
Two of the problems facing the farming industry at the moment are the prices being paid to dairy farmers for the milk they produce, and the prices sheep farmers are facing when they’re selling their lambs. Whilst 65% of those who took part in the survey were in favour of taking action and going on strike, the remaining 35% were against striking, mainly due to worries they have about alienating the public and result in a backlash against farmers.
A tweet from BBC Five Live asked people whether they supported British farmers, to which a number of replies were negative, including people labeling all farmers as ‘big fat conservatives’ and people complaining that organic food is too expensive.
In my opinion, the problem here is education. Whilst people are becoming more and more conscious about what there are eating, it’s happening very slowly. British farmers have been trying to encourage people to eat locally forever, and in the days where people only bought their meat from their local butcher, it wasn’t a problem. However, the last 30 years have seen supermarkets grow at an alarming rate, and now that everyone can get all their shopping, from groceries to electrics and clothing, under one roof, there’s no reason for anyone to go anywhere else.
Whilst supermarkets are selling British produce, it’s often placed alongside cheaper, foreign meat, which has been imported. There have been a number of cases where foreign meat, such as New Zealand lamb has been labelled and sold as British, misleading customers and farmers at the same time.
At a time where we’re spending more and more on medicine, and helping people fight things like heart disease and diabetes, education is where we should be spending more time, effort and money. People are concerned about price, and what they can get for the least amount of money, because why spend more money on food than you have to?
There doesn’t seem like there’s going to be a solution to this problem any time soon, but if something doesn’t happen, there will be real issues, especially for this in the dairy industry because of the cost of producing milk vs the amount they’re being paid for it.
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